We all face challenges.
In 2020, we are all facing a world of a certain degree of stress, difficulty, and even chaos.
When the year started, we knew that, here in America, we were entering into that strange and difficult season called ‘an election year‘. For many of us that is stressful enough. We know that there will be increasing hostility in our culture. We know that those we would normally ‘agree to disagree’ with amicably will not allow that–at least in some cases. This ‘election stress’ will not subside until (at least) November, and that, by itself, is challenging. Politics is stressful, by itself.
Since the beginning of this year, we heard about another issue–this strange and new virus in China which seemed to be concerning. Spreading quickly and killing many, we watched as China tried to contain it. However, we knew that…in this interconnected world, that was virtually impossible. Now, Covid19 has spread to over 100 countries.
Whether or not it turns out to be a ‘serious’ thing or not in its fatality rate, it is clearly quite contagious, and is being reacted to (some would say over-reacted to) dramatically. Effective today, the country of Italy essentially quarantined…itself! The entire country is under quarantine, with emergency measures prohibiting large gatherings of any kind, and even restricting personal travel close to home. In my humble opinion, that seems like an overreaction to me…yet, I realize that public officials have a responsibility to protect their population, and err on the side of caution.
As we here in the USA begin to do much more testing, it is predicted that the numbers will rise–a lot. This may be simply due to the fact that many people have been walking around with it, without symptoms…and now they start to feel sick and get tested.
Looking at the economy doesn’t bring any comfort. The Stock market and Futures markets have been on a chaotic roller-coaster-ride over the past week, and that does not appear to be finished.
What will the outcome be?
We simply don’t know.
The bigger question, for each individual, is this:
What will YOUR reaction be?
How will you and I react to the increased pressures?
Some will, of course, try to minimize all these things. Others will seem to obsess about them.
Both are missing one major point, in my opinion.
That is this: These pressures are one additional piece of evidence that we are NOT ‘in control’ of our world, our culture, and even our lives.
Sure, we tend to fill our schedules with activity, and we say that we ‘have it under control’, but things like this–and countless more personal realities, from job losses to unexpected health diagnoses–will show us our vulnerability.
How will you react to that vulnerability?
Some will try to attack it, plan around it, and come up with a ‘strategy’ that gets them back on top of the circumstances.
I would like to suggest one additional reaction: Humility before God.
I realize that some will be offended by this, but I think that it is at least POSSIBLE that what we are seeing is evidence of a world that has increasingly tried to push Him away and reject Him. Historically, when people–especially His faithful people–do that, He tries to call to them, then tries to woo them back, then–if they persist in their rebellion–He moves to the removal of His protection, and eventually discipline and finally, judgment.
Psalm 94: 9-15:
“Does he who fashioned the ear not hear?
Does he who formed the eye not see?
10 Does he who disciplines nations not punish?
Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge?
11 The Lord knows all human plans;
he knows that they are futile.
12 Blessed is the one you discipline, Lord,
the one you teach from your law;
13 you grant them relief from days of trouble,
till a pit is dug for the wicked.
14 For the Lord will not reject his people;
he will never forsake his inheritance.
15 Judgment will again be founded on righteousness,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.”
All of it is done in love–to bring us back to Himself.
“And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
I believe that we are in these last phases of this process. God is allowing us to experience a life with less and less of His blessing and protection. He desires that we turn back.
What, then, is the correct response?
Repentance. Confession. Seeking a restored relationship with Him, through Jesus.
Isaiah 30: 15, 18:
“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.
18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!”
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
Some will say that I’m nuts…a fanatic. So be it.
What do YOU say?
Let me encourage you…no matter how you react to this idea now: PRAY about this.
Ask God about this.
Ask God about your life, and the way you’ve been resisting, or submitting to Him.
Ask Him about this world, and whether or not it might just be that we are increasingly under His judgment and discipline.
Even if that has nothing to do with the ‘big, worldwide issues’, it may have a LOT to do with your ‘issues’…and mine.
…and the only way to effectively deal with those things is to bring them to Him.
When we acknowledge who He is, and His control over our world, things begin to turn around–personally and more!
Think about it.
Pray about it.
Watch this: https://youtu.be/rW9MbYQrTUI